The death toll from a suicide bombing on the Pakistani side of the border with India has climbed to 60 as authorities from both sides temporarily closed the frontier to travellers and trade, officials say.
Twelve more people died of their injuries, raising the toll from 48 overnight after a bomber hit a crowd gathered to watch a flag-lowering ceremony at the Wagah border crossing near the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, said Doctor Kurram Shahzad at Khurki Hospital.
More than 130 people were injured in the worst attack to hit the country in several months, said Tahir Javed Khan, head of the paramilitary Rangers force that mans the border.
Khan said the crossing had been sealed temporarily after police found another bomb in the parking area Monday.
Dozens of passengers on buses and nearly 300 trucks loaded with goods cross the border daily.
“The crossing will remain closed until we complete a combing operation in the vicinity,” said police official Mushtaq Sukhera.
The flag-lowering ceremony that attracts thousands of people on both sides every sunset would not be held for three days, Sukhera said.
The attack occurred as security was on high alert across Pakistan for the Shi’ite Muslim month of mourning, Sukhera said.
Shi’ites marking the month are often the target of sectarian attacks.
Jamaat ul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack, but did not mention who the target was.
“We will continue targeting infidels,” the group’s spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said in a statement to the media.
The attack is the deadliest since the Pakistani military launched an offensive against Islamist militants in their strongholds in the country’s tribal region near the Afghan border.